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Antonio Brown appears in first TV interview since his Bucs exit

The NFL star claims the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization offered him $200,000 to seek mental health counseling of some sort.

TAMPA, Fla. — In his first televised interview since his departure from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Antonio Brown and his lawyer, Sean Burstyn, spoke with Bryant Gumbel on Real sports HBO to discuss the NFL star's controversial game exit.

The full interview doesn't air until 10 p.m. Tuesday; however, in a two-minute and 43-second video, Brown makes contentious claims against his former head coach, Bruce Arians, and the Buccaneers' general manager, Jason Licht, including about a payout to enroll in a mental health facility.

During the interview, Brown claims the Buccaneers medical staff injected him with Toradol before the New York Jets game on Jan. 2 when he made his bazaar exit during the third quarter at Met Life Stadium; and the week before at the Carolina game on Dec. 26, which was Brown's first game back from his COVID-related suspension.

"We actually have, Bryant, in the medical records that we reviewed, evidence that the team regularly injected Antonio with Toradol so he couldn't feel the damage that he was doing to his ankle," Brown's attorney, Burstyn, said. 

Burstyn goes on to say before Brown left the field, he told his coach, "Coach, I can't play because of my ankle." He said Arian's response was then, "Get the F off the field."

While Toradol is not an illegal drug, it is frowned upon and discouraged among the NFL. 

Gumbel said Arians told reporters Brown was upset about not getting more balls thrown his way. "True or false?" Gumbel asked the wide receiver.

Brown said that statement was false. 

"Tom Brady is my guy," Brown answered. "He was the reason I'm on Tampa Bay, so I knew I'ma get the ball."

Switching gears, Gumbel brought up Brown's mental health state at the time of his exit from the Bucs-Jets game, in which Brown said he doesn't need to seek any assistance from a mental health professional.

"These guys at [the] Tampa Bay Bucs tried to make an agreement with me to give me $200,000 to go to the crazy house so these guys can look like they know what [they're] talking about," Brown said. 

Burstyn continues on from Brown's statement saying General Manager Jason Licht specifically told them, "don't spin this any other way."

In response, Brown said he has "mental wealth" and knows that he may come off as misunderstood to the general public.

And that's just from a little over two-and-a-half minute interview. The full interview will be accessible on HBO Max at 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Following Brown's mid-game exit, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers terminated his contract on Jan. 6. 

In a statement, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers said Brown was cleared to play in the game against the Jets and they had no knowledge that he couldn't play.

"While Antonio did receive treatment on his ankle and was listed on the injury report the week leading up to last Sunday's game, he was cleared to play by our medical team prior to the start of the game and at no point during the game did he indicate to our medical personnel that he could not play," the NFL franchise wrote.

While many of Brown's former teammates and other NFL figures across the league speculate that the wide receiver could be suffering from a mental health condition, Brown has reiterated that is not the case.

In a Jan. 24 episode of "I Am Athlete" Brown tells former NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall that he's not suffering from mental health issues

"Why every time something happens bad, or how someone reacts, 'Aw, he's crazy, there's something wrong with his mental health,'" Brown said in the clip. "There's nothing wrong with my mental health. Someone told me to get the [expletive] out of here. I'm not passive-aggressive."

Arian denies Brown's account and said in a news conference days later, "At no point in time during that game did he ever ask the trainer or a doctor about his ankle."

Arians said Brown was mad he wasn't getting the ball more.

"It started again on the sideline. 'I ain't playing.' 'What's going on?' 'I ain't getting the ball.' That's when I said, 'You're done. Get the [expletive] out of here," said Arians.

According to a statement Brown released following the sideline incident, he intends to play in the NFL again, saying he plans to return to football once he is back to 100 percent. 

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